Originally published on 9/14/2016 at https://letarawrites.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/book-review-blended-ink/
Blended Ink: Erotic Anthology
Recently, I got the chance to read Blended Ink after purchasing it nearly a month ago. I had been in talks with Chris Ringo, one of the authors, for quite some time about purchasing the book. Unfortunately, a few days after I told him I’d buy it from him, he passed away. However, another door was opened as I was able to get in touch with Shawn Starling, who is another contributing author to the book, and I’ve been introduced to some of Starling’s other work as a result. I finally got around to reading it and now I’m able to give my take on this anthology.
As the title suggests (and as I’ve already mentioned), Blended Ink is a collection of erotic stories by three different authors, each one with their own distinctive style. Each story has an element of eroticism and drama. Two out of the three stories have full plots that arouse both curiosity and hormones. The effort put into each story is obvious as each indie author attempts to make their mark in this collection
Written by Shawn Starling, Back Shots covers a few days in the life of Double—whose real name is William Washington—as he indulges in what is forbidden in the form of Dartania, his love interest. Living up to his nickname, Double crosses the line and the people closest to him by acting on bad habits.
Starling’s way of telling this story kept me interested. There was a healthy dose of sex—explicit sex—and it lent a helping hand to developing the relationship between Double and Dartania. Their affair was blazing and passionate, but also scandalous and life-altering. Though a bit predictable, I was still able to enjoy it. Had it been extended into a full novella or novel, I would have read it. There were certain characters I would have like to have seen fleshed out a bit more to really add more punch to the story. However, Starling wrote a page-turner that kept me interested from start to finish.
Sex, Love and Romance
Shreese Chambers delivers a brief tale about Brian and Monica that begins with them having sex and ends with them making love. Their desire for one another is intense, but lacking in the romance department. Mind-blowing sex is a constant with them, but more intimate love-making is nonexistent until one day…
The depth of the conflict in this story isn’t very deep at all, which is why this particular story didn’t appeal to me. Not that sex and romance isn’t nice, but for my personal taste, I prefer a little more detail and not just in the description of their sex sessions.
Ringo closes the anthology with his narrative that chronicles a battle of the sexes between Avery S. Synn and Raised Barr. Avery S. Synn is the owner of Synn 2 Mental Restaurant and not one to turn down competition. If anything, his ability to be easily drawn in to anything he deems competition could have him labeled as a bully or bull-headed. Such was the case when both the mother of his competitor, Raised Barr, and Synn’s own female companion worked together to pull him into their plan to help Raised establish her territory on Synn’s turf in the form of Raised Wine & Dine Espresso Barr. Raised doesn’t need any assistance with manipulation though. She, indeed, is Avery’s match. There’s plenty of double-crossing to ingest in this short story full of food and sex references as Ringo bridges the two to show the connection between food, sex and romance.
Nothing Ringo writes is simple or formulaic and much like my experience in reading Skin Experience (which you can read the review here) I found myself rereading a few parts to make sure I understood what was going on. He has a way of weaving characters and stories that would blow the reader’s mind, but once all is cleared the reader is left in awe trying to digest exactly who, what, when, where and why it happened, which is his intended goal in much of his work—to throw readers for a loop. His wordplay is like none other. From the names of the characters to his lyrical use of euphemisms, Ringo’s style is incredibly distinct and cannot be dubbed as anything other than high quality. My biggest criticism, however, is that at times it was confusing for me determining which characters were speaking and when.
As a whole, I’d rate the collection a 3.5 out of five. The level of creativity and the ability of both Starling and Ringo are evident as they were both able to draw me in to their stories. Sex, Love and Romance did nothing for me, but Back Shots and Edible Synn left me satisfied with the exception of the small critiques I had for either story.
Shawn Starling can be found on Facebook and Instagram, where interested readers can order paperback copies of his books. His books are also available as e-books on Amazon.